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Mercy morning ops
LOS ANGELES (March 30, 2020) Hospitalman Jonathan Freno, from Kileen, Texas, prepares for morning operations aboard the hospital ship USNS Mercy (T-AH 19), March 30. Mercy deployed in support of the nation's COVID-19 response efforts, and will serve as a referral hospital for non-COVID-19 patients currently admitted to shore-based hospitals. This allows shore base hospitals to focus their efforts on COVID-19 cases. One of the Department of Defense's missions is Defense Support of Civil Authorities. DoD is supporting the Federal Emergency Management Agency, the lead federal agency, as well as state, local and public health authorities in helping protect the health and safety of the American people. U.S. Navy photo by MC2 Ryan M. Breeden.
LOS ANGELES (March 30, 2020) Hospitalman Jonathan Freno, from Kileen, Texas, prepares for morning operations aboard the hospital ship USNS Mercy (T-AH 19), March 30. Mercy deployed in support of the nation's COVID-19 response efforts, and will serve as a referral hospital for non-COVID-19 patients currently admitted to shore-based hospitals. This allows shore base hospitals to focus their efforts on COVID-19 cases. One of the Department of Defense's missions is Defense Support of Civil Authorities. DoD is supporting the Federal Emergency Management Agency, the lead federal agency, as well as state, local and public health authorities in helping protect the health and safety of the American people. U.S. Navy photo by MC2 Ryan M. Breeden.

Minimize the spread
SAN DIEGO (March 24, 2020) Hospital Corpsman 2nd Class Feliciano Paredes, from Stamford, Conn., assigned to the amphibious assault ship USS Bonhomme Richard (LHD 6), disinfects his door. Bonhomme Richard has developed an aggressive mitigation strategy to minimize the spread of COVID-19 and protect the health of our force. Bonhomme Richard is at homeport in San Diego. U.S. Navy photo by MC3 Gavin Shields

SAN DIEGO (March 24, 2020) Hospital Corpsman 2nd Class Feliciano Paredes, from Stamford, Conn., assigned to the amphibious assault ship USS Bonhomme Richard (LHD 6), disinfects his door. Bonhomme Richard has developed an aggressive mitigation strategy to minimize the spread of COVID-19 and protect the health of our force. Bonhomme Richard is at homeport in San Diego. U.S. Navy photo by MC3 Gavin Shields

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Force Health Protection graphic

Sailors, civilians and family members can keep up with the latest information on the coronavirus, provided by the Navy and Marine Corps Public Health Center. Read more...

Divider BarPentagon warns service members not to use home DNA kits
The Pentagon recently warned that military personnel shouldn’t use at-home DNA kits such as 23andme or Ancestry. The advisory, initially obtained by Yahoo News, said such kits could pose a security risk. It also warned military personnel are being targeted by the companies with discounts encouraging them to purchase the at-home kits.“Exposing sensitive genetic information to outside parties poses personal and operational risks to Services members,” the memo noted. “These (direct-to-consumer) genetic tests are largely unregulated and could expose personal and genetic information, and potentially create unintended security consequences and increased risk to the joint force and mission.” ... Refer to https://www.stripes.com/news/us/don-t-use-home-dna-kits-pentagon-warns-service-members-1.612655.

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Apply now for loans from NMCRS Educational Assistance program
April is here and that means there is only one month left until The Navy-Marine Corps Relief Society’s Educational Assistance program closes on May 1. The program offers interest-free loans and grants for an undergraduate or master’s degree. Assistance is available for children of active duty, retired or deceased Sailors and Marines; and for spouses of active duty and retired Sailors and Marines. For more information or to apply, visit www.nmcrs.org/education.

VA introduces 'Solid Start' to provide support to veterans
Program provides vets supportive contact and information to enable success
WASHINGTON - The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, in collaboration with the Departments of Defense and Homeland Security, introduced VA Solid Start which will proactively contact all newly separated service members at least three times during their first year of transition from the military.
Read more....

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Military couple assignment policy: 5 things to know
The Navy realizes how important families are, and when they're not whole it can add stress to a Sailor's life. Collocation of dual-military couples is part of supporting families. It is a priority, along with balancing fleet readiness. The revised policy updates the collocation and distribution procedures and makes orders negotiation less cumbersome........ read more

Navy Pregnancy and Parenthood mobile app available
"Pregnancy and parenthood can be compatible with a successful military career when Service members and the Command both understand their roles and responsibilities, said Capt. Candace Eckert, director of N1 Diversity. "This app makes that task easier by identifying regulations, instructions and references from a wide variety of sources and offering them in one easy-to-use app. The app includes information regarding assignments, retention, separation, standards of conduct and much more." ......read more

Separation policy
To protect Sailors and Marines suffering with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), traumatic brain injury (TBI) or any other diagnosed mental health condition, Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus has made his department the first in the military to assure such conditions are considered before separating a service member. ......read more

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flagFact Sheet: COVID-19 Military Personnel, Pay, and Benefits Policy - 3/26/20

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Local military news

San Diego ships news
SAN DIEGO (April 1, 2020) The Chiefs Mess aboard the amphibious assault ship USS Makin Island (LHD 8) poses for a photo on the flight deck in honor of the 127th chief petty officer birthday. Makin Island personnel maintain mission-oriented social distancing as part of coronavirus mitigation measures to ensure the health of the crew. The crew is currently sequestered aboard the ship to ensure the health of the force while maintaining mission readiness. U.S. Navy photo by MC3 Jacob D. Bergh.
SAN DIEGO (April 1, 2020) The Chiefs Mess aboard the amphibious assault ship USS Makin Island (LHD 8) poses for a photo on the flight deck in honor of the 127th chief petty officer birthday. Makin Island personnel maintain mission-oriented social distancing as part of coronavirus mitigation measures to ensure the health of the crew. The crew is currently sequestered aboard the ship to ensure the health of the force while maintaining mission readiness. U.S. Navy photo by MC3 Jacob D. Bergh.


SOUTH CHINA SEA (March 21, 2020) Airman Winky Fong, assigned to the Wildcards of Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron (HSC) 23, stands fire watch while an MQ-8B Fire Scout unmanned aerial vehicle refuels on the flight deck of the Independence-variant littoral combat ship USS Gabrielle Giffords (LCS 10), March 21, 2020. Gabrielle Giffords, part of Destroyer Squadron Seven, is on a rotational deployment, operating in the U.S. 7th Fleet area of operations to enhance interoperability with partners and serve as a ready-response force. U.S. Navy photo by MC2 Brenton Poyser
SOUTH CHINA SEA (March 21, 2020) Airman Winky Fong, assigned to the Wildcards of Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron (HSC) 23, stands fire watch while an MQ-8B Fire Scout unmanned aerial vehicle refuels on the flight deck of the Independence-variant littoral combat ship USS Gabrielle Giffords (LCS 10), March 21, 2020. Gabrielle Giffords, part of Destroyer Squadron Seven, is on a rotational deployment, operating in the U.S. 7th Fleet area of operations to enhance interoperability with partners and serve as a ready-response force. U.S. Navy photo by MC2 Brenton Poyser

SAN DIEGO (March 24, 2020) Retail Services Specialist 3rd Class Thuy Nguyen, from Houston, Texas, and Airman Manuel Lozano, from Morena Valley, Calif., stand watch in front of the barge quarterdeck of the amphibious assault ship USS Bonhomme Richard (LHD 6) to screen oncoming traffic for COVID-19 symptoms. Bonhomme Richard has developed an aggressive mitigation strategy to minimize the spread of COVID-19 and protect the health of our force. Bonhomme Richard is at homeport in San Diego. U.S. Navy photo by MC2 Devin Kates
SAN DIEGO (March 24, 2020) Retail Services Specialist 3rd Class Thuy Nguyen, from Houston, Texas, and Airman Manuel Lozano, from Morena Valley, Calif., stand watch in front of the barge quarterdeck of the amphibious assault ship USS Bonhomme Richard (LHD 6) to screen oncoming traffic for COVID-19 symptoms. Bonhomme Richard has developed an aggressive mitigation strategy to minimize the spread of COVID-19 and protect the health of our force. Bonhomme Richard is at homeport in San Diego. U.S. Navy photo by MC2 Devin Kates

PACIFIC OCEAN (March 27, 2020) Fire Controlman (Aegis) 3rd Class Tyler Hackney, from Manchester, Ohio, uses a sound-powered phone aboard the Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Pinckney (DDG 91) during a replenishment-at-sea with the Military Sealift Command fleet replenishment oiler USNS Guadalupe (T-AO 200) ,March 27, 2020. Pinckney is currently conducting routine operations in the Eastern Pacific. U.S. Navy photo by MC3 Erick A. Parsons

USS Pinckney
Replenishment
at Sea

PACIFIC OCEAN (March 27, 2020) Fire Controlman (Aegis) 3rd Class Tyler Hackney, from Manchester, Ohio, uses a sound-powered phone aboard the Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Pinckney (DDG 91) during a replenishment-at-sea with the Military Sealift Command fleet replenishment oiler USNS Guadalupe (T-AO 200) ,March 27, 2020. Pinckney is currently conducting routine operations in the Eastern Pacific. U.S. Navy photo by MC3 Erick A. Parsons.

Seal Beach again picked as Best Small Navy Installation in the Southwest
by Gregg Smith, Naval Weapons Station Seal Beach Public Affairs
SEAL BEACH, Calif. (NNS) -- For the third time in four years, Naval Weapons Station Seal Beach has been selected as the winner of the Commander, Navy Region Southwest Installation Excellence Award for Small Installations.
The award recognizes bases for superior support to the fleet, cost savings, and innovative improvements to facilities, quality of life, safety, and environmental sustainability.
“Competition this year was tough, and all of our bases have had some truly outstanding accomplishments,” said the Commander of Navy Region Southwest, Rear Adm. Bette Bolivar.
“However, the exceptional work by the Seal Beach team really stood out.”
In recent years base personnel have led efforts to curb the use of energy and water, build a new ammunition pier, upgrade the gym and family housing units, and improve the safety and security of base operations.
“It is a true honor and privilege to be a part of this great organization, and we would not have been selected for this recognition without everyone’s hard work and dedication," said weapons station Commanding Officer Capt. Jason Sherman. "Our efforts at constant improvement, collaboration and teamwork have really paid off, and I’m looking forward to seeing how we fare at the national level."
The weapons station will next represent the Southwest region in the competition for the best small installation Navy-wide. That contest is scheduled to be decided by January 2020.
In 2012 and 2016 the base and its two detachments in Fallbrook and Norco, Calif. went on to win honors as the best small installation in the U.S. Navy.
Commencing operations in 1944 as a Naval Ammunition and Net Depot, Naval Weapons Station Seal Beach provides munitions to a majority of the U.S. Pacific Fleet.

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National military news

America strong
PHILIPPINE SEA (March 24, 2020) Ships from the Theodore Roosevelt Carrier Strike Group, the America Expeditionary Strike Group, and the U.S. 7th Fleet command ship USS Blue Ridge (LCC 19) transit the Philippine Sea in formation during a photo exercise, March 24, 2020. Operating as an Expeditionary Strike Force, the Navy-Marine Corps team integrates the combat power of the Theodore Roosevelt Carrier Strike Group with the flexible capability of the America Expeditionary Strike Group and 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit to provide the fleet commander with a capable, credible combat force that can be deployed anywhere in the world. Blue Ridge is the oldest operational ship in the Navy and, as U.S. 7th Fleet command ship, actively works to foster relationships with allies and partners in the Indo-Pacific region. U.S. Navy photo by MCSN Sarah Eaton
PHILIPPINE SEA (March 24, 2020) Ships from the Theodore Roosevelt Carrier Strike Group, the America Expeditionary Strike Group, and the U.S. 7th Fleet command ship USS Blue Ridge (LCC 19) transit the Philippine Sea in formation during a photo exercise, March 24, 2020. Operating as an Expeditionary Strike Force, the Navy-Marine Corps team integrates the combat power of the Theodore Roosevelt Carrier Strike Group with the flexible capability of the America Expeditionary Strike Group and 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit to provide the fleet commander with a capable, credible combat force that can be deployed anywhere in the world. Blue Ridge is the oldest operational ship in the Navy and, as U.S. 7th Fleet command ship, actively works to foster relationships with allies and partners in the Indo-Pacific region. U.S. Navy photo by MCSN Sarah Eaton.

TAP available online for transitioning Sailors
3/24/2020
by MC1 Mark D. Faram, Chief of Naval Personnel Public Affairs

WASHINGTON (NNS) -- The Navy has suspended all in-person Transition Assistance Program classes due to social distancing rules now in place to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.
But the Navy is not eliminating the training requirement and instead is authorizing all separating and retiring sailors to complete this requirement online, allowing them to separate on time.
Here’s what you need to know:
“Commanders must continue to ensure transitioning Service Members are prepared to reintegrate into the civilian community, especially in the challenging times we face. Vice Adm. John B. Nowell, the Navy’ top uniformed personnel official said in NAVADMIN 082/20.
Active-Duty Sailors retiring or separating are exempt from the stop movement, which means that separations and retirements will go on as scheduled, unless Sailors request and are approved to reenlist or extend
The course completion requirement is also still in place for Reserve Sailors on active-duty orders for more than 179 days as well as mobilized reservists within 60 days of redeployment and demobilization.
For those with enough time left on the books, the message recommends they simply reschedule for a later date.
Those inside their 365-days prior to separation start time or 90-days prior to separation Capstone requirement must complete their training through the Joint Knowledge Online Website. Details on the TAP virtual curriculum to include links to the training available on the Department of Defense Transition Assistance Program Website.
What’s not changed is the requirement for initial Self-Assessment Counseling, Pre-Separation counseling and Capstone sessions. These can still be done in-person using proper social-distancing protocol or telephonically by command career counselors or TAP managers.
TAP related questions can be directed to Mr. Tom Albert, OPNAV N170C, at (901)-874-4254, DSN 882 or via e-mail at tom.albert@navy.mil.

Navy program to help protect Sailors from online exploitation
From Chief of Naval Personnel Public Affairs
WASHINGTON (NNS) -- The Navy is launching a new program that will advise Sailors and their families of potential adversarial threats in the digital domain.
The central mission of the Identity Management Program—outlined in NAVADMIN 047/20—is to create policy and training that will mitigate risks and vulnerabilities of personal online use and provide commanders at all levels with a certified workforce to man the online battlespace against adversarial activity.
“Modern technology has forever changed the way we conduct warfare and how we conduct our personal lives,” said Vice Adm. John Nowell, the chief of naval personnel. “Our adversaries will use every means possible to weaken our capabilities, to include targeting Sailors on their personal social media accounts. As we are taught in all of our security training, we must remain vigilant to ensure we protect ourselves and the critical operational information of the Fleet.”
Immediate actions of the program will encompass the review and modification of current distribution practices for enlisted advancements, officer promotions, program selections, and command assignments.
“In the era of Great Power Competition, we have a responsibility to ask ourselves whether past practices make good sense in the current operating environment,” said Geoff Tokajer, director of the U.S. Navy’s identity management program. “Current practices provide our adversaries with everything they need to conduct surveillance and compile target lists - we are changing that.”
Program leaders are directing Sailors to the Navy Social Media Handbook 2019 for the best information until follow-on guidance is distributed. They list a few key tips for using social media:
Know who you are following
Know who is following you
Think about the information you are giving out before posting on social media
Access the Navy Social Media Handbook 2019 online here:
https://www.navy.mil/ah_online/OPSEC/docs/Policy/
Navy_Social_Media_Handbook_2019.pdf
Additional training and policy changes will be coming incrementally in the following months.
More information can be found in NAVADMIN 047/20.

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United Through Reading®
Deploying? Service members invited to record stories for family at San Diego USO
United Through Reading® is a program helping ease the stress of separation for military families by having deploying or deployed service members read children’s books aloud via DVD for their family to watch at home. This powerful program is available to all military units. It provides service members a chance to make lasting connections from afar. The DVD recording and the book are mailed to the child and family back home.
Service members who are leaving for training can also take part in this program. Being a parent is not required; service members can send the DVD & book(s) to any special child in their life such as younger sister or brother, niece, nephew or godchild.
On the day of the recording, service members are encouraged to dress in the attire they will be wearing while deployed/training, but this is not required. The room is private, so any special message, or those fun reading voices, will only be heard by the recipient of the DVD recording. USO San Diego has books available, or service members can bring their own. Our volunteers will help set up the camera and then leave the room. The DVD can hold a 30 minute recording.
Please e-mail USO San Diego Staff Member Nichole Duarte at utr@usosandiego.org to make your appointment. This program is offered at both USO San Diego centers.

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